Monday, January 4, 2010

A Nostalgic Tale

I'd normally (or I suspect I would normally; this is, like, my fifth post here) post a sketched fan art such as this only at Deviant Art, but I actually have a bit of a story to tell connected with this that's worth posting here.

Click for larger Version

First, the sketches. This is fan art of three of the reviewers at the That Guy With The Glasses website (much swearing, NSFW. The site, I mean; not this fan art). In the upper and lower left is Doug Walker as the Nostalgia Critic, the upper-right is Lindsay Ellis as the Nostalgia Chick, and in the lower-right is Lewis Lovhaug as Linkara. These three are my favorite reviewers on the site, though I should note I haven't seen them all as there are many, MANY reviewers there.

I drew the Critic twice because I wanted to draw him with an angry mug, and the Nostalgia Chick wound up looking a bit too cutesy in the first drawing (which is difficult to avoid when drawing in my style), so I felt obligated to draw her looking less friendly as well. Meanwhile, I was satisfied with Linkara's disgust over reading what is apparently a retooling of Pride & Prejudice by Frank Miller, so he's only there once.

Anyway, the story. I am not someone who knows Doug Walker well personally or sees him every so often, but there was a time when I would see him at least twice a week by virtue of being in the same college class. This was before the Nostalgia Critic even existed, but my comic, El Goonish Shive, had been around for years.

While Doug was not familiar with my work, I did mention it in class and he had some interest in possibly starting a web comic himself, so he e-mailed me to see if I could send him some tips about getting set up online. I wound up replying with an e-mail that was over 1,000 words, which, now that I think about it, could probably be updated and converted into another blog post for generic usage thereby reducing the odds of other people e-mailing me about it. Hooray!

Anyway, he thanked me and that semester ended. We only saw each other in class, so I didn't see much of him after that. Then one day I was browsing some forums and came across a link to a comedic movie review. I clicked the link and watched the review, and while I found it funny, there was something weird about it. I thought I recognized the voice (apparently black hats work like Superman's glasses), and when I remembered where I had heard it before, I thought I must be crazy. Once I checked the old e-mail Doug had sent me, however, part of the e-mail address was "thatguywiththeglasses", which matched the alias of the person posting the Nostalgia Critic videos.

My mind was blown. Not only had he become an internet celebrity , but the persona he had chosen as the Nostalgia Critic was loud, swearing, and angry. In class, Doug sat in the back, was quiet, polite, and while he spoke up and had things to say, there was little to no indication that he could one day take on a persona such as the Critic.

He was, however, really good at presentations. Shockingly good, in fact. Like, "how dare you this is a class stop being so awesome" good. I also distinctly remember him starting to ask a professor a question about copyrights and the use of footage in things like reviews. This was as I was leaving the room (probably to get candy or something), so I don't know how it went, but he was clearly scheming of greater things by that point.

His site's been around for over a year. It now has a whole entourage of reviewers, though it's worth noting that, even early on, he's had help. I don't mention this to bring him down, but because these guys deserve credit, too. Rob Walker (his brother) and Bhargav Dronamraju have helped write, create, and act in several episodes, and Mike Michaud, as I understand it, is pretty much responsible for the web hosting and gave the Critic a home once Doug ran into trouble on YouTube.

Anyway, when I realized it was him, I sent him an e-mail to confirm, and he did. This was a long time ago, and I said that I would have no choice but to give him a shout-out. While I have given him shout-outs on forums and Twitter and such. I don't think I've ever given a shout-out appropriate to my e-mail's declaration. Not only that, but I like the site enough to have paid for premium content, Roger freaking Ebert complimented the guy, and the site raised over $32,000 for charity, so...


  1. Let us not forget that The Spoony One, fellow TGWTG critic and runner of his own site got some compliments from our man over at ZP, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw.

    Man, a sketch of Spoony done by you would be pretty awesome, as would some Tedd and Insano stuff. They work well together, I imagine.

  2. The fact you two knew each other (sorta) in College is both awesome and scary.

  3. Great sketches! You two knew each other, that...that blows my mind a bit...

  4. That's kinda sorta super awesome. :o You should feel awesome now. Go ahead, the awesome gods have given you their awesome permission today. Awesome.

  5. Wow... this is kind of amazing. And it makes me wonder: did all of the awesome people on the internet go to the same college?

    Love the sketches also!

  6. But of course! The nerd majored in poetry.

  7. My mind's been blown. The uryuoms would be proud.

  8. Dan, have you ever thought about joining Doug and the crew as a reviewer on Channel Awesome? I bet you'd be great.